To celebrate the release of Warhammer 40k Leviathan, Games Workshop released a second free Warhammer mini of the month in June. In stores until the 15th of July you can get a free Tyranid Termagant to add to your collection.
As is now becoming a regular friendly challenge, we each headed to a local Warhammer store to build and take home a model, and painted them to compare our different approaches.
Ben (AKA @manyotterminis)
Two models in one month, now we’re really stretching my painting productivity to its limits. None the less it would have been unthinkable to not get involved in some way with the Leviathan celebrations, it’s the biggest Warhammer release since they made an Underworlds warband with a crab in it.
As usual there was no plan for this model, just a hope that once it was in my hands inspiration would strike, and it… kinda did. I knew I wanted to play with the skin and chitin textures and, being nothing if not predictable, the first texture I thought of was of course, leopard print.
That meant that some of the model was going to be a yellow-brown, and there was going to be a savannah or jungle theme, so I started painting.
I tried skipping the usual black primer step to see how it worked. There’s always been a few people who think priming is optional but in my whole Warhammer career I’ve been a slave to Citadel cans of Chaos Black, or recently Wraithbone or White Scar for contrast paints, so maybe I’ve been wasting a lot of money?
For the best chance of success I started with Citadel paints from the “base” paints range. These are not designed to replace primer but would give me good coverage, and a nice dark base to build highlights onto. Caliban Green for the skin, and Dryad Bark for the yellow.
I had no issues with paint chipping or flaking off as I stippled up to Moot Green on the skin, and streaks of Morghast Bone towards the edges of the scales. I went over the, currently brown/bone, armour with Contrast Bad Moon Yellow to add in the yellow I wanted, and it worked a little too well. Toned down with a wash of Agrax Earthshade and highlighted back up to Flash Gitz Yellow I eventually got a colour that was more armour-like, and less banana-like.
Having built so much texture into the chitin I didn’t want to lose it with a noisy leopard print, so I scaled down my original plans and just added a little hint of print, as well as a little yellow, to the shoulders and head. This adds a bit of interest to an otherwise prominent but dull part of the model, and subtly softens the transition between flesh and scales.
Finally I tried to carry some elements of the Tyranid to the base. I sculpted some ant-hill like crater structures to make it look like a hot jungle planet and copied the streaky yellow texture from the scales onto the rims of the openings, before doting around a lot of green tufts for the Termagaunt to hide in.
The end result is a Tyranid who, hopefully, looks like they’ve been shaped by their environment. Evolving themselves to blend in with the undergrowth and hide amongst the towering any-hills of a strange jungle planet.
Kristian (AKA @kregory03)
Tyranids are very much the Seraphon of Warhammer 40k, in that they take to contrast very well. I had no idea what I wanted to do with the little guy when I got him, only that it would be fun to try something, so I just let the creative process take me where it may.
Depending on how far you’ve scrolled, you’ve probably noticed that Matt and I have accidentally created very similar end products, though the methods we used to get there were different. During this process I discovered that Doomfire Magenta is a lot more red than I was expecting, it’s also so rich in pigment that it basically acts as a watered down base paint. To bring the depth of shadows back I covered all the red areas in Carroburg Crimson, planting my flag firmly in the red territory. The blue is simply Frostheart for the carapace and Celestum Blue for the claws, hooves and teeth.
All in all I think I’d call this one a good lesson rather than a successful mini. The lesson being when to be satisfied, rather than necessarily happy, with a finished result. He certainly doesn’t look bad to my eyes but if I were to try again I’d go in a wildly different direction. Also that magenta isn’t pink.
Matt (AKA @howes_the_painting)
Watching people paint their leviathan boxes on YouTube I cannot remember many videos that weren’t using contrast or speed paints on these Tyranid models. So when I got this model I thought “let’s try to paint this model in a quick way, without relying on contrast paints”.
Next came the shading. I tested some Agrax Earthshade over the red, but it didn’t feel vibrant and alive enough for me. I tried Berserker Bloodshade but felt it didn’t give enough contrast. This was when my pile of contrast paints started calling to me!
I thinned Doomfire Magenta 50/50 and applied that to the skin and it gave me the dark but warm shadow I was looking for. Having given in to the allure of contrast paints I used Stormfiend thinned 50/50 on the scales, and then added a scratchy texture with the Vallejo blue-green again. I picked out a few details and called the paint job done.
Even though I strayed from my original brief I’m pretty happy with this model. Whilst I’m not going to be starting a Tyranid army any time soon it has been a joy to paint.
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